Monday, October 8, 2012

100 Dresses Relief Society Activity

I'm sure several of you have participated in this Relief Society activity for your area, but we just had it for the first time in our ward. I found the idea on line here.
I really liked the idea of getting several copies of this book and circulating it through the ward, so that the sisters could be touched by the story before ever attending the event. We purchased five copies and started circulating them about a month before. The Primary President in our ward had several more copies and she lent hers out as well which helped. The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes is really a beautiful child's book about the idea of inclusion and true charity. It's also a very fast read--a quick reader could do it in ten minutes.
There are several different takes on how to incorporate the story in the book into an activity. I decided I liked the idea of donating our ward's used dresses, skirts, tops and shoes (women's and girl's) to a local shelter. We found one called The Center For Hope which helps women with children who have had substance abuse issues and are now recovering from addiction and ready to enter the workforce. They need dresses to go to interviews and once they have a job. On the posters we asked all of the women to clean out their closets and bring their stuff that night.
I assigned myself to centerpieces and I really hit the jackpot when I found another woman had blogged about how she had done the event. I can't find the link to her blog right now, but she had decided to frame photos of different dresses that she had printed on her silhouette machine. I don't own one of those nor did any of the women in our ward know someone who did, but I had something even better--a neighbor who scrapbooks and is awesome! I asked her to create dresses for me out of scrapbook paper. She hit a home run with it. I can't tell you how many compliments I got on her dresses.
So, our activity went as follows:
We provided dinner for all the women in the ward. After we had all gotten our food, I asked the woman who found our shelter to get up and describe the help our donations would provide to other women (the shelter didn't have someone available to come and speak). We also have a woman who used to work as an attorney with domestic abuse victims and she talked about how much help these women need. We then had a woman in the ward speak about taking hard situations and being positive. I had asked her several weeks before, so she could be prepared. She did a fabulous job.We then had a discussion about the book itself. The women really had a lot to say--who can't relate to this book in some way? We finished it with thoughts from a member of the RS Presidency.

Our ward easily donated over 200 dresses/skirts/tops/shoes. I have to mention that in addition to the sisters who donated, we had a husband whose wife had died last Christmas donate her clothing and shoes (she had over 200 pairs). We filled an entire van with what the sisters brought and the bed of an entire truck from the donations by the brother in our ward. I couldn't believe it. It seemed to me to be the perfect activity--service, socializing, food and discussion. I love it when an idea comes together.


Amelia Poll said...

Wow! That sounds wonderful!! I've never heard of the book, or this activity, but it sounds like it would be amazing!

Oh, and I'll respond your your email ASAP. I just have to think about it first :)

Sabina said...

Audrey, Awesome job! I was really inspired by your service. I'm going to have to find that book for my family. Thanks for sharing. Good work!

Tina said...

I haven't heard of this book, but this is such a great activity idea! I'm going to pass it along to the meeting coordinator in my ward.
I got your message about ideas from my ward. Unfortunately, we haven't had any really memorable or successful activities lately. There was one the I was out of town for that sounded pretty great though. They had someone come in and talk about freezer meals or something like that, but then afterwards they had all the food items available for each sister to put together her own freezer meal to take home. i wish I could have been there for that one. Good luck in your new calling!

rachel said...

What a fantastic IDEA! I love it. The problems that some women/children face are gigantic. Colby and I are shocked at the horrific things that people overcome, but we're amazed that they can overcome them.

Anonymous said...

When I was the RS president, I told the story about the 100 dresses for one of my lessons on Sunday, and sent out the lesson via Email to all the other sisters to read. After that Sunday we delivered to every home in our ward a hanger with an invite to the next "Home making". They were asked to bring back the hanger with a dress to donate for the road house in Salt Lake City. We were hoping to get maybe 75 dresses, but would have like to have 100. To our surprise we had 275 dresses donated for this cause.
Rita Winmill, Baer Creek Ward Kaysville

Holly said...

This is a really neat idea. Thank you so much for sharing! I would love to do this in our ward. Ü